Pinning Ceremony

Both Emory University and the School of Nursing are steeped in traditions that make for a unique and fun student experience.

Pinning Ceremony

Our nursing pin, featuring the initials of the school, is given in a ceremony to every nurse upon graduation from the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Our graduates take positions all across the globe, but they are forever linked by their experiences at Emory and their nursing pins.


The school's pinning ceremonies take place twice a year during Fall Convocation and the Spring Awards Ceremony. Our BSN students receive their nursing pins during the Spring Awards Ceremony, and our AMSN students receive their pins at Fall Convocation before they embark on the MSN portion of their degree program.


The nursing pin, given to every nurse upon graduation from the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, cannot be considered mere jewelry or a reminder of graduation like the tassel or a mortarboard. Rather, the nursing pin has a history that connects each new Emory nurse to every nurse who has come before, every nurse in the United States, every nurse who has ever accepted the responsibility of the profession.

The wearing of the nursing pin is a privilege earned by graduates of nursing programs across the country. It is a symbol of the practice of nursing and the educational preparation of the wearer. Most schools have a pinning ceremony to honor their graduates, and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is no exception. Over the years, the design of the Emory nursing pin has changed very little. The first pin, created for the graduating class of 1907, was inspired by the Maltese Cross and the Red Cross. This is fitting as the Maltese Cross dates back to the symbols associated with the knights of the Crusades. At that time, nurses undertook both a military role and a nursing role as they worked alongside the knights tending to the needs of the wounded. Each of the eight points of the Maltese cross stands for a beatitude the knights and nurses were to obey. This cross is the original symbol of service.

The location and name of Emory’s nursing school also affected its appearance. The first pin of the School of Nursing was created for The Wesley Memorial Hospital Training School for Nurses founded in 1905 in downtown Atlanta. Nurses who earned a diploma received a gold pin on which there was a dark red cross, surrounded by delicate gold filigree supporting a white enamel banner above the cross with the initials WMH, for Wesley Memorial Hospital.

As the pins of subsequent years illustrate, the nursing school changed its location and name over the next half century. In 1922, pins still bore the letters WMH for Wesley Memorial Hospital. The school had moved to Emory campus but the name was not changed to Emory University Hospital until 1926. Then, the only change in the pin was the addition of the initials EUH on the porcelain banner. In the mid-1940s, the letters changed to EUSN, for Emory University School of Nursing. Finally the letters were changed to NHWSN after the school name was changed in 1967 to honor Mrs. Nell Hodgson Woodruff, wife of Coca-Cola magnate Robert W. Woodruff, for her lifelong love and support for the nursing profession. Mrs. Woodruff broke ground for our very first nursing building in April 1968, just five days before her death. Her memory and her legacy are always with us.

Nell Hodgson Woodruff Tea

Held at the School of Nursing each May, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff Tea for nursing graduates honors Nell Hodgson Woodruff, who dedicated her life to caring for others and for whom the School of Nursing is named.

Fall Convocation

Fall Convocation, held every August in Glenn Memorial Auditorium, welcomes students and new faculty to campus and marks the beginning of the academic year. During the event, the school also pays tribute to the outstanding achievements of the AMSN, BSN, and MSN students.

Spotlight on Student Experiences

Spotlight on Student Global Health Experiences is an annual event where students present information regarding their global involvement in research, service learning, program implementation and/or program evaluation. Students also share their amazing international experience through photography which displays their engagement in social responsibility. The event takes place in the Fall and is open to all School of Nursing students.

For more information about the Photography Contest, please contact:

Jennifer Foster
Associate Clinical Professor

Lisa Nunez
Program Coordinator

To enter the photo contest, please email photos to Lisa Nunez and complete the certification form.

Global Heath Photography Contest

Emory nurses and other health students participate in the annual Global Health Photography Contest, which was started to foster cultural sensitivity by encouraging Emory students conducting global health projects to examine the culture and people with whom they are working.


Emory undergraduate and graduate students can submit photographs that they take during a global health field experience in a low- or middle-income country. These global health field experiences can be Emory programs or non-Emory projects (e.g., Peace Corp experiences, study abroad programs, etc.). All photographs submitted must be taken by the student submitting them.


The 2015 Global Health Photography Contest information will be available soon.


When photographing people, we greatly encourage you to employ the following:

  • Respect the person you are photographing and treat that person with dignity
  • If possible, obtain verbal consent from the person or people you wish to photograph and then show them your digital photograph to ensure they are comfortable with it
  • If you are taking pictures of children, try to obtain the verbal consent of their parents or guardians
  • Be particularly mindful when taking pictures of the vulnerability and privacy of people who are receiving health care -- respect their privacy and follow the photography rules of their health care facility
  • We discourage you from taking pictures of people when they are unclothed out of respect for their privacy
  • Be mindful of whether or not you are representing the person accurately and/or the community accurately
  • Be mindful of your intent in taking the photograph (e.g., are you taking it to portray a situation, raise public awareness, capture something beautiful, etc.)

For more information surrounding the ethics of global health photography, please see the UniteforSight website.


Winners will be selected by a panel of judges. Photographs will be judged by their technical and artistic merits as well as their ability to convey a global health message.


Five winning photographs will be selected each year. Students submitting winning photographs will receive a $500 cash prize and a certificate recognizing their accomplishment. To view the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 photography contest submissions, click here.

Emory University Traditions


Emory’s unofficial mascot is a skeleton, Dooley. Our “Lord of Misrule” (represented by select students in costume) makes appearances all year, but during Dooley’s Week in the spring he rules campus—dismissing classes and making mischief.


Originating decades ago when Emory held no classes on Wednesdays, Wonderful Wednesday now is a way for the whole campus to celebrate on Wednesday afternoons.


Every fall for almost thirty years, former President Jimmy Carter holds a town hall meeting for first-year students, where he speaks and then takes questions from the audience.


In honor of The Coca-Cola Company founders Robert and George Woodruff, who in 1979 gave a gift of $105 million to Emory, every year Emory students, faculty, and staff gather together in celebration and raise a toast—a Coca-Cola, of course.


Held every September, Homecoming Weekend is a chance for alumni to return to campus to reconnect with former classmates and enjoy the Emory University and School of Nursing communities. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff participate in several days of celebratory events including a parade, a concert, lectures, and receptions.